MIKE TOTH

Atmosphere at Bills game in T.O. was just fine

Posted By: Mike Toth · 12/3/2013 11:02:00 AM

A few days have passed since the Buffalo Bills annual Toronto tilt and I'm still peeved at all the people complaining about the lack of "atmosphere" at Rogers Centre. Sure, the game wasn't a sell out but there were still close to 40 thousand people in the seats and most of them had a ton of fun. 

 

One of the stars of the show?

 

Forget Rob Ford, I'm talking about an energetic guy wearing a Bills jersey with Stevie Johnson's name on the back. He sat in our section and was constantly up on his feet high-fiving fellow Bills fans while booing Atlanta Falcons backers, all in good fun. Of course after his favorite player fumbled the football late in the game, one of the reasons for the Bills heartbreaking overtime loss, the Stevie Johnson-wannabe didn't have quite the same spirit.  

 

Still, it was a fun afternoon and gloom and doomers are way off base when they say the joint wasn't jumping. Sure, the place was a little empty and quiet at the start of the game. But that was because of the NFL's tight security that forced people to drop their bags off at a furniture store across the street before being subjected to a metal detector search before entering the gates. A little overboard, for sure, but the price you pay in our post-911 world.

 

With that said, you can't defend against every goofball, as a drunken bum from our section jumped on the field during the game before he was corralled by security. There were also a couple of scraps up in the cheap seats, so yes.....there's some of that "NFL experience a lot of Toronto folks seem to crave.

 

Come on, though, is that what you really  want? Oiled up idiots who get gassed before the kick-off and then ruin the game for everybody else?

 

"Hey, tailgating is a huge part of being an NFL fan," a lot of people beef, grumbling about Toronto's tight liquor  laws on cracking open a few pops in public.

 

But if you're really that pumped up about tailgating fire up the Hibachi in your own driveway, pound as many Bud's as you like and crawl up to bed when you wake up. So-called football fans seem to forget the actual game is still the main reason why massive crowds congregate every Sunday. The Bills-Falcons tilt, for instance, was an overtime thriller that you didn't have to be hammered to enjoy. 

 

And the noise?

 

Sure, it didn't sound like the Seahawks game Monday night, as they re-established the world record for noise at an outdoor stadium at an ear-splitting 137.6 decibels. But after pumping all that Starbucks coffee into their systems, people in Seattle are always wired for sound. Besides, down the stretch of the Toronto game, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan admitted the loud crowd made it tough to hear the snap count; and with apologies to all those people who enjoy it when their ear drums leak blood, that sound level is all you're really looking for as a 12th man.

 

Look, there are a few reasons why Toronto might never land its own NFL team - Ralph Wilson lives forever, Bon Jovi doesn't (He is an old rocker after all), or the staggering price tag ends up scaring even the rich guys at Rogers.

 

But don't tell me a lack of passion will keep Toronto NFL-free.

 

A fun crowd of about 40 thousand cheering for a lousy team that doesn't even wear our city's colors?

 

That's not too shabby at all.

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  1. Mark posted on 12/08/2013 04:50 PM
    ....and how many of those 40,000 were give-aways and marked downs? Rogers has taken a bath on this series with the hopes of being in the right place at the right time when the Bills go up for sale.

    There are no individuals in this country that are willing to build a stadium (because tax-payers will not) and own 51% (corporations can only own up to 49% of an NFL franchise) of a franchise that would tank as soon as the dollar goes down to seventy cents again.....

    It would be a mistake to think that people from Buffalo would come to Toronto en mass to support a team they have no stake in, in a city that does not allow booze-tailgating......the locals have already demonstrated that they are not willing to pay top dollar for the NFL in T.O......

    ....and what about L.A. and the 4-5 other American locations that desperately want a team?

    Face facts, it would be incredibly bad business to put an NFL team in T.O., not to mention terrible for their image when it fails......but, hey, that won't stop the media from dreaming in technicolor.....
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